Sailing: Slade falls short of festive No 1 as Oatley takes Hobart honours

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The Independent Online

Bob Oatley's 100ft Wild Oats XI won the 630-mile Sydney to Hobart Race, making it three in a row, but was nearly three hours outside its record time, finishing in 45hr 24min 32sec. Skippered by Mark Richards, the yacht was pushed all the way by Britain's Mike Slade in his new 98-footer, Leopard.

"I am very proud of the crew as by the time we were in sight of Tasmania we were 23 miles behind and we managed to claw that back to just three miles," said Slade. "We finished just over 27 minutes behind. We must have had them looking over their shoulders."

In the Barcelona World Race, Alex Thomson and his Australian co-skipper, Andrew Cape, are pleased with the results of 48 hours of repairs to their Open 60, Hugo Boss. They may, however, be nearly 800 miles behind when they leave Wellington to resume the chase of leaders Jean-Pierre Dick and Damian Foxall.

A new motion has been lodged with the New York Supreme Court by the America's Cup defence club of the Swiss holder Alinghi, the Socit Nautique de Gneve, claiming the petition granted by Justice Herman Cahn to Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle to be challenger of record should be overturned. A hearing is scheduled for 14 January.

Oracle's Tom Ehman said the motion "lacked merit". "If these arguments were valid they would have been presented months ago. But, unfortunately, they now look like a rather desperate measure by Alinghi's lawyers. We are confident they will be rejected."

Francis Joyon, on his 98ft trimaran, Idec, was hoping to round Cape Horn overnight, a week ahead of schedule in his attempt to break the record of 71days 14hr 18min 33sec for sailing solo round the world, set by Ellen MacArthur on 7 February 2005.

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